An art performance at the ceremony (Photo: VNA)
In his remarks, Chairman of the People’s Committee Phan Van Mai highlighted the increasingly close ties between the two countries, saying over the past 50 years, the bilateral relationship has grown actively across spheres, both bilaterally and multilaterally.
The good traditional friendship has also been consolidated and enhanced, the official added.
Notably, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam presented Italy with more than 300,000 masks, while Italy donated 2.8 million doses of vaccines to the Southeast Asian nation.
This vividly demonstrates the intensive and effective strategic partnership and friendship between the two countries, he said.
HCMC, for its part, has actively worked to promote cooperation with Italy, Mai noted, adding that the relations between HCMC and Italy have reaped achievements in trade, investment, education and training, culture, and tourism.
According to the official, the two-way trade reached US$591 million last year. For investment, as of February 20, 2023, Italy ran 64 projects in the southern metropolis with a total registered capital of US$85 million, ranking 26 out of the 117 countries and territories investing there.
However, the results have yet to match the potential of both sides, Mai pointed out.
Regarding cooperation prospects, he said HCMC serves as a gateway for Italian businesses to access the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other markets through free trade agreements to which Vietnam is a member.
Delegates to the event (Photo: VNA)
Meanwhile, as a G7 member and with a big market, Italy would be a maritime gateway for Vietnamese goods to enter Europe, he said.
With strong economic recovery and a growing middle class, HCMC is a promising market for Italian goods, the official added.
Economic cooperation remains a priority in the relations between the two sides, he said, noting that both are working towards high, green, clean, and environmentally friendly technologies.
Mai considered the compatibility in economic development orientations an important premise for the two sides in raising the bilateral trade to US$6 billion in 2022, expressing his firm belief that the target of US$10 billion is within reach.
The official said he hopes that cultural and culinary exchanges between Vietnam and Italy will be enhanced in the future, contributing to strengthening solidarity between the two peoples.
Italian Consul General in HCMC Enrico Padula highlighted multi-faceted cooperation between Vietnam and Italy, particularly technological transfer.
Speaking of Vietnam’s efforts in building a green economy, the diplomat said Italy would help the country with technologies and professional skills to carry out relevant ambitious projects.
He also suggested the two countries cooperate in the space industry in service of agriculture, natural disaster prevention, and the mitigation of climate change consequences in rivers and coastal areas.
Cultural collaboration always plays an important role in Vietnam-Italy relations, covering music, theatre, and cinema, he said, stressing the partnership between the universities of the two countries.
Italy is actively engaging in heritage conservation projects in Vietnam’s central region and hopes to further cooperate with the country in cultural heritage and architecture.
According to the Consul General, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations, Italy’s offshore patrol ship Francesco Morosini is scheduled to anchor at Nha Rong Port in HCMC this May.